Following the launch of our impending series of alfresco events we're calling 'El Verano del Disco', we thought we'd compile 5 of our favourite records to play outdoors, next to the pool, in the sun, cocktail in hand... you get the picture.
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At the end of September, the world lost music producer and boogie pioneer Michael Jones – a.k.a Kashif – writer and co-producer of the song that inspired this very club night: 'Love Come Down'. Better late than never, we thought it was about time we paid our respects to the man and, of course, the music.
As The Guardian astutely point out in their obituary, when Michael Jones decided to rename himself from a book of Islamic names he chose aptly, as 'Kashif means “discoverer”, “pioneer”, or “revealer”'. A multi-instrumentalist and promoter of the use of technology in music, Kashif helped to shape the sound of the 80s by writing a slew of boogie and R&B hits for artists such as Evelyn 'Champagne' King, Whitney Houston, George Benson and himself.
Indeed, Kashif's early adoption of synthesisers and drum machines in a world traditionally dominated by full, 18 piece soul bands would act as a precursor for what was on the musical horizon at the end of the 80s. With hip-hop and house just around the corner, in hindsight boogie combines many of the hallmarks both genres are famed for. Drum machines and deep, synthesised bass lines rub up against diva vocals to create a then-modernised version of soul that sounded fresh and exciting – and in the process inspired countless producers coming of age during the period.
To celebrate the life of one of the unsung heroes of music, below we've highlighted our five favourite Kashif tracks (unsurprisingly, it's pretty Champagne King-heavy!). For those of you who use Spotify, we've made also made it into a playlist here.
5. Evelyn 'Champagne' King 'I'm In Love'
Kashif's first collaboration with ECK and the song that simultaneously put him on the map and revived her career, 'I'm In Love' features all the aforementioned key elements. Drum machines, squelchy bass and a killer hook, it sets the tone for things to come.
4. Stacy Lattishaw 'Jump Into My Life'
This song came to our attention after being featured on John Morales's excellent 'Club Motown' compilation, and is typical Kashif. All power snares and synth bass, the 12" version also features an extended break with some great bell percussion and reversed drum hits.
3. Evelyn 'Champagne' King 'Betcha She Don't Love You'
ECK and Kashif's professional relationship produced numerous important records, and this is one of our favourite non-Love Come Down Champagne King tracks. In this record it's particularly clear how good Kashif was at leaving space in between the elements to allow the others extra punch. The groove is, in a word, irresistible.
2. Kashif 'Lover Turn Me On (I Just Gotta Have You)'
Easily his best solo track, this song's hook is the epitome of 'killer'. Combine that with the immediately familiar Kashif bass sound and a super-sweet vocal, and you're onto a winner. It's just been revitalised for us by our discovery of Coutel's excellent edit – one which will definitely get played at Love Come Down Halloween.
1. Evelyn 'Champagne' King 'Love Come Down'
What more can we say about 'Love Come Down' that hasn't already been said? The fact that it is the only song which has been played at every single one of our club nights says it all, really. A bona fide classic, surefire party starter and without doubt the career highlight of all involved. R.I.P. Kashif.
Want to hear records like these in a club? Join us at Love Come Down Halloween on Sat 29th October at The Arch Gallery. Full details and tickets available below.
Love Come Down Halloween at The Arch Gallery is imminent, and in the run up to the event we've been counting down the days by posting one of our current favourite tracks each day.
1. Change 'The Glow Of Love' (12" Extended Version)
I'm really into Change at the moment - they're so underrated. This track is one of Luther Vandross's first lead vocals (he'd previously been a backing vocalist for Chic, Diana Ross AND Bowie, amongst others), and boy does he deliver. This is some smooth shit.
2. Deep & Disco 'Feel The Rhythm'
Razor-N-Tape is an awesome label out of Brooklyn, who have delivered a host of great edits and original tracks since they started up back in 2012. Their slogan is: "Cut in Brooklyn. Good for dance", which says it all really. This track is an edit of Chic's 1977 track 'Strike Up The Band', and we love it. But the A-Side to the 12" 'So Tight' is also well worth a listen. It was tough to choose between them.
3. Masters At Work feat. India 'When You Touch Me' (MAW Remix)
Masters At Work's most famous song also features India's vocals, but I recently discovered this one and like it just as much. Straight up, this is disco/house crossover at it's best.
4. Teddy Pendergrass 'You Can't Hide From Yourself' (Dimitri From Paris' Super Disco Blend)
Another incredibly smooth male vocalist in the vein of Luther Vandross, this Teddy Pendergrass track is one of those songs you'll probably know as soon as you hear it. Those horn stabs have been sampled so many times! The ever-reliable Dimitri From Paris brings it up to date.
5. Inner Life 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough' (JM 4AM Mix)
A (perhaps THE) Paradise Garage classic - Inner Life's take on the soul standard 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough' (a song that, nearly 40 years after its first release, was heavily borrowed from by Amy Winehouse) is for me the definitive version. Controversially, I'm preferring the John Morales mix to Larry Levan's perhaps more famous version here - mainly because it's slightly more suitable for modern dance floors. You will hear this on Halloween.
Pitchfork have coincidentally posted an interesting article about '80s disco as part of their 'Pitchfork Essentials' series.
It's a genre and era that's central to Love Come Down's music policy and general ethos, so have a read:
There's also a 10 song playlist of tracks to listen to (which Apple Music users can sync to their phone). Look out for the Chemise and David Joseph tracks (they're bangers) as well as Larry Levan's definitive version of 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough', of course!
Check it out, and meanwhile standby for an announcement regarding our next party shortly...